BeBop uses a proprietary combination of polymers to create piezoresistive fabric. This means the fabric's electrical properties will change when the material is strained. BeBop applies circuitry to quantify such changes to make sensors capable of measuring everything from a light finger touch to full body weight. The company has developed a number of products around sensors embedded in fabric including the Forte Data Glove, a safety helmet that can provide impact location, a multi-sensor insole and an automotive occupancy sensor.
The company, which was founded in 2014, said it would use the money to accelerate product development and market penetration.
"We believe BeBop to have fundamental technology that will be as important to AI and humans as cameras and microphones. Computers need to feel people, and fabric is already deployed in clothing, furniture and interiors." said Eric Wiesen, managing partner with Bullpen Capital.
"We see the market for sensors in wearables including gloves for VR, automotive and gaming applications to grow rapidly, reaching $5B by 2027,” said Raghu Das, CEO of market research firm IDTechEx,. "This market is also transitioning from rigid sensors such as FSRs to fabric-like, flexible, stretchable sensors."
BeBop Sensors founder and CEO is Keith McMillen, a graduate in acoustics from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who founded Keith McMillen Instruments in 2005, a company that develops hardware and software technologies that allow musicians to interface with computers.